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RWA BUILT ENVIRONMENT PLAN LANDS

This article is taken from CLOVER'S eNEWS - Friday 17 February 2006 - No. 284 and provides Clover Moore's views on the Redfern Waterloo Built Environment Plan.

The Redfern Waterloo Authority's draft Built Environment Plan, released last week for public comment, promises "a strategic planning framework to facilitate the area's economic growth"—yet it differs little from the 2003 RED Strategy of the Redfern Waterloo Partnership Project and provides no assurance that meeting local community needs will have priority over profit-driven development.

I am concerned that this Plan may not benefit local residents, at least for some years. Instead, they could suffer a loss of amenity from increased development without any immediate improvements to infrastructure, open space, public domain, community facilities, or transport.

I urge you to find out more about the Plan and attend the forum the RWA is holding on Saturday 4 March at Redfern Town Hall, 73 Pitt Street, commencing at 1pm.

The Plan proposes a new Redfern Town Centre based on redevelopment of the Railway Station, but does not explain how this will be achieved.
Similarly, strategies for public domain, infrastructure, heritage, transport, and utility services lack detailed information.

The primary focus of the Plan is planning controls for the eight state significant sites in the Redfern Waterloo Authority area. These are the North and South Eveleigh railway lands, the Australian Technology Park, the Eveleigh Street Precinct (including "The Block"), the Redfern Railway Station precinct (including Gibbons and Regent Streets), Redfern Public School, the Court House and old Police Station, and Rachel Forster Hospital.

A draft State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) has also been released for public comment. The SEPP will write the proposed planning controls into law.

The new controls will increase land values, notably in the Eveleigh Street and Gibbons Street/Redfern Railway Station precincts, by increasing the allowable heights and densities of new developments.
The controls allow buildings of up to 18 storeys along parts of Gibbons street, creating the risk of a canyon of towers and wind tunnels near Redfern Station. There is no information about plans for redevelopment above the Railway Station or railway lines.

It will be near impossible for the Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) to realise its Pemulwuy Project under the new controls, which allow for only 30 homes, instead of the 62 planned by the AHC, making the project financially unviable. I have supported redevelopment of "The Block" to provide appropriate housing for Aboriginal families, run by a well-managed and financially viable organisation. I am concerned that the RWA Plan will reinforce community fears that the Government wants to remove Aboriginal people from this high-profile development area.

The Plan will enable the Rachel Forster site to be used for medium density residential, and is likely to be sold to a private developer.
Developments of up to seven storeys will be allowed on part of the former Redfern Public School site, and up to six storeys on the former police station site. The Court House and Police Station are slated for business use, while serviced apartments and hotel, motel and hostel accommodation will be allowed on the school site.

The proposals for Eveleigh Railyards are similar to the 2003 "RED Strategy" proposals, with a 16 storey tower planned for the northern end of the Eveleigh Railyards near Redfern Railway Station. There is no information about how nearby residents will be protected from traffic and other impacts, and it appears that the former South Sydney Council's Darlington Village local plans will be overridden.

Despite glossy "artist's impression" images of Lawson Square without multiple lanes of traffic on Gibbons Street and Regent Streets, the plan has no strategies to achieve this. The RWA has a "vision" of returning Regent Street and Gibbons Streets to two-way traffic, but acknowledges that this "may not be imminent" because broader metropolitan and regional traffic issues need to be considered. This "vision" contradicts Government plans since 2003 for extension of the two-way pair further south to Green Square (see my eNews No 160 report from 15 August 2003).

The redevelopment of Redfern Railway Station is the key element of the RWA's proposed Transport Strategy, yet there are no plans, no timetable, and no funds identified for the upgrade.

Department of Housing properties are listed for consideration in Stage 2 of the plan, with a restatement of the commitment that there will be no loss of public housing, existing tenants will be re-housed, and existing tenancies are secure. Plans for affordable housing and development contributions are still to be developed.

The Built Environment Plan and SEPP are on exhibition with community comment due by Friday 14 April, and I encourage residents to read the plan and SEPP, and make comment.

Information:
* RWA, telephone 9202 9100
* Draft BEP: www.redfernwaterloo.nsw.gov.au/redfern_waterloo_plan/
urban_renewal.htm
* Draft SEPP: www.planning.nsw.gov.au/asp/drafts.asp